I completely understand where you are coming from. After my daughter was born I wanted to cut back my work schedule to part-time. With less money coming in, my husband and I had to look for opportunities to reduce our expenses. Like most families, groceries (and diapers!) are a big part of our monthly budget and I didn’t want to shortchange our diets in the process of tightening our spending.
Healthy foods can be more expensive. That’s because companies like Laura’s Lean Beef and others invest extra time and effort to produce items according to strict nutritional guidelines and don’t accelerate the natural process with additives and preservatives. The result is fresher food that’s better for you.
That being said, there are ways to spend less and still make healthy food choices.
- Plan your meals and snacks in advance. Build your grocery list around your menus and use coupons when you can. I know I keep saying this but it makes a huge difference!
- Have a firm dollar figure in mind for how much you can spend. Use a calculator while you shop to track your purchases against your budget.
- Shop the perimeter of the store. This includes produce, meats, and dairy products. These areas usually have healthier food choices compared to the inner aisles that contain the processed, shelf foods. When you do go to the inside aisles, stick with items such as plain brown rice, whole grain bread, cereal, pasta, etc., and avoid mixes and pre-seasoned items.
- Buy your produce in season. It is cheaper and the nutrient content is higher. Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked in season and retain their nutrient value making them another healthy option, with added cost-saving benefits. You are less likely to waste food when you buy frozen because you can prepare the amount you need and re-freeze the rest. Reminder: avoid frozen products with sauces.
- Shop on delivery day to get the best price on produce. Store managers usually mark down items that same day to make room for the new shipment. Find out when your supermarket gets its deliveries and schedule your shopping then.
- Buy generic. Store brands are affordable, offer similar nutrients and usually taste just as good as the name brands.
- Don’t pay for portion control when it comes to snacks. The small 100 calorie bags are cute but you are paying extra for convenience. Buy larger bags of healthy snack foods and divide them into grab and go baggies. Invest the money you saved on better quality fresh items.
- Only drink water and low-fat milk. Soda, juice and sports drinks are expensive and have no nutritional value.
- Don’t shop when you are hungry! You risk spending more money and buying foods that aren’t as healthy. Hit the supermarket after a meal or at least have a snack before you go.
Do you have a money saving tip for the team? Please share it with us.